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Project Runway season 20

E P I S O D E   O N E

A hearty thank you to my best friend Karen for TELLING ME ABOUT THIS! My DVR died a couple weeks ago so I might have not even known it was on until too late. Which would have been disastrous, disheartening, dishonorable.

Let me give you a brief Project Runway history lesson. It premiered on Bravo in 2004. It was on Bravo for five seasons, then moved to Lifetime for eleven seasons, then moved back to Bravo in 2018 due to the demise of the Weinstein Empire. All of the All Stars seasons had aired on Lifetime, so Bravo, in a snide stab at Stalinist revisionist history, is calling this Project Runway season 20, the first ever all stars season. Isn't that hilarious.


All hail Korto Momolu!. She and Laura Bennett are my favorite contestants in the history of the series. Love that woman. Such a talent, such a delight.

Kara Saun, so full of controversy! Do you remember that whole shoe debacle in her runway show? Not pretty. Great that they went all the way back to season 1.


Rami Kashou, such a talent and such a personality. They did a little bio on each designer and I'm surprised they didn't mention that he designed a costume for Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show.

Fabio, super cute and lots of talent and ingenuity.


Mila, welcome back, it's a treat to see you again. Her impact is entirely with her work and not with her personality.

I always thought Victor was super cute, he always made me smile. I seem to remember he also blogged on the PR website, and he was saucy.


Anna Zhou. I remember her but let's say she didn't really make a strong impression at the time. 


Kayne - - he's a riot but is he really the bomb? Or just a firecracker?


Laurence - - I think I sort of remember her...? She's gorgeous, that much is clear.


Hester - - of course I remember her but not in a good way, she annoyed me in her previous season. But I love how she's redone herself, she seems to have grown up.


Brittany, all attitude and scant talent. And who is she kidding with that shade of blonde.


I remember Prajjé but have no memory of his work. Says something, right?


Sorry Bishme and Nora, I have no memory of either of you.


The challenge: they were given the look that had gotten them eliminated (or close to eliminated) in their original season. The new design had to have some vague relation to the original. The judges want to see that they can learn from their mistakes. 


Christian said, when he and Nora announced the challenge, that there was a twist. But he didn't say what it was. He went into full sadist mode in the workroom later saying, "I can't wait for my twist! So much fun!" Richard summed it up perfectly: "He's f-cking nuts."


The twist: no one would have immunity this season, anyone could be eliminated at any time. The winner of each challenge would be getting advantages or prizes. The winner of this challenge, for example, would win $10,000. Not chump change.


Kayne left half of his fabric at Mood. He tried to get some support from the other designers but they had the attitude that it was his problem. Which it was! Big girl panties time, honey. If you're gonna be a bonehead you gotta live with it.


Bishme had a very hard tine with this challenge. His sister was ill during his season and ended up dying two months before the current season started. It was triggering for him to have to confront the design that got him eliminated, it made him revisit the time when his sister was sick. He spoke with a producer and shared his feelings. It was touching. Thankfully he seemed to pull himself together.


On to the runway! The judges were our usuals: Nina Garcia, Elaine Welteroth, and Brandon Maxwell. And the guest judge, my beloved Alicia Silverstone. Call me crazy (and I'm sure you have) but I really and truly believe that *Clueless* is the greatest movie of the 90s.


At this point I need to introduce you to my friends Laura and John, who I refer to as Statler and Waldorf, since their snarky commentary is in the tradition of the cranky old dudes in a box seat on *The Muppet Show:*
























Statler (John) and Waldorf (Laura) had strong opinions about what Miss Silverstone was wearing:




























Waldorf: OK guys. What was up with that outfit? I want to send her an underwire.

Statler: I want to send her a mirror and an honest critique by Nina Garcia.



Bishme: the jacket was cute. I was pleased that he had a success with such personal challenges but I didn't see it as so impressive. I think the judges saw a clear relation to the original, which served him well. I would have put Rami in the top three over him, Rami's look was much more ambitious and had more impact.


Kayne: wow, that was cute, very strong. Another case of taking your personal tragedy (in his case, being a bonehead) and rising above it.


Fabio: an interesting mix of arty yet wearable. Elaine chose it as her favorite look of the day.



Nora: pretty but underpowered and I saw no relation to the original garment. Brandon pointed out that the fabric was a huge problem, it puckered and the pale color accentuated the problems. My friend Dianna said, "Her version of flowers was ugly, her sewing not so good." As you can see, Dianna is more diplomatic and ladylike than those shade-throwing codgers Statler and Waldorf.


Viktor: the pink fabric had nothing to do with the bondage business underneath, I didn't get it. Nina saw some good elements, that was kind of her. Brandon thought there was too much going on - - Viktor should have focused on a few elements and let those shine.


Kara Saun: Elaine thought it was dated, Alicia called it The Mermaid. Ouch. Dianna described it as matronly and thought it was a waste of the beautiful fabric (I paraphrase). Nina had lots of suggestions in their judge talk on how he could have improved it. Elaine said, "Sewing is a core part of this competition." Nina said, "One hundred percent."


I agreed with the judges on both the winner and the loser, which is as rare as hen's teeth. Kayne was the winner. His look was clearly the strongest. Nora was the loser - - her piece was so blah and badly crafted. Plus I didn't know who she was.

E P I S O D E   T W O

Ah, the audience favorite and designer dread! The unconventional materials challenge! We all look forward to this, am I right? They do it every season so since they'll clearly be doing it next season I have two requests:


1. Every season the mentor urges the designers not to use anything that's fabric-based, they should be using odd materials in an innovative way. Could we please not make this announcement again, I am so over it. If they haven't watched the show, or in the case of All Stars, have no memory of what happened before, then oh well, there ya have it.


2. Could we outlaw glue guns in the workroom? Is there a professional designer who uses a freaking glue gun?


Not a lot of drama in the workroom, they all seemed to be pretty focussed on their work. A nice change of pace. You know how a beauty pageant gives a Miss Congeniality award? I think Project Runway should give a Least Trouble in the Workroom award. I'm happy to choose the winner.


Let's go straight to the runway, shall we? The guest judge was Stacy Bendet, CEO and founder of clothing brand Alice + Olivia.



Brittany's dress, of the top three, looked the most effortless, the most like something you could wear out in the world. Brandon gave her a few demerit points for structuing it on muslin, which is a bit of a cop-out.


Kayne, what a hoot! He knows how to turn it on and turn it out. All of that last-minute flurry in the workroom shore did pay off. The chevron construction along the front of the gown was damn impressive. I love that Nina was filled with joy by the bleeding eyes of the pandas.


Prajjé's look was pretty damn cool. It really looked like clothes but still had lots of attitude.


Viktor's dress was very special. Nina referred to it as "flawless." Elaine said about the boomerang pieces, "What even ARE those things?" That's a sure sign of being in the top on an unconventional materials challenge. Bravo to him.



Mila said she didn't have enough time. True, but as my wise mother would say, "That's an explanation, it's not an excuse." All hail the maternal wisdom of Miss Nita. Ignore her at your peril.


Rami got emotional telling the story about seeing kites in the sky in Palestine. I doubt it was a deliberate choice but it sure did reroute the judges from possibly giving him the auf. I think we can all agree that the dress looked not so great. Elaine used the word "noisy." In the final judge review Brandon said that at least Rami's look was finished, unlike the other two.


Laurence's dress was so unresolved, to use a PR term. Mila ran out of time, but I'm not sure Laurence could have rescued this failing design even with another six hours. Here's a so-cold-it-burns conversation fragment from the runway review:


NINA: Why not try?

LAURENCE: I did try.

NINA: But did you?


Remember last week I agreed with the judges on both the win and the auf? This week I disagreed with them on both. Viktor was the winner and I would have given it to Prajjé, his look had so much more distinctive attitude.


The auf went to Mila and I would have given it to Laurence, for two reasons. First, Heidi often used to do a "Which would you wear?" litmus test - - you look at the two worst outfits and you have to choose which you would wear if you had to wear one of them, if a glue gun were held to your head. Clearly you'd be wearing Mila's. And second, this isn't fair, but I see Mila as a Project Runway legend. This shouldn't give her bonus points and more time on the show, but I wish it did.


Here's the commentary from Statler and Waldorf. Waldorf first:


"I have a little thing for Rami that I can not put my finger on and his story got to my heart. I was hoping he stuck around. I am very glad Viktor won."


Statler was more salty:


"My biggest comment was about guest judge’s makeup. I still am having nightmares about her lashes. Were her eyes actually open? I also am kinda over the woman who keeps crying about missing her baby. Christian's response was so direct. Ha. I laughed out loud. Harsh. Andddddd I also wish Christian would stop giving so much advice. He’s more like and adviser than a mentor. I don’t want so much of his opinion."

E P I S O D E   T H R E E

The challenge: create a formal gown fit for royalty. The designers were randomly placed in teams of two:


Vitor and Kayne

Anna and Brittany

Korto and Prajjé

Hester and Fabio

Rami and Bishme

Kara Saun and Laurence


Brittany was very jazzed up about being on a team with Anna. She predicted that the look they'd make would be "one of the greatest looks in Project Runway history." I think we could all see where that was headed.


They went out for drinks. Some, clearly, were drinking a lot - - one of those glasses of red wine was FULL. Eff. You. El. El. Korto talked about how the two eliminated designers were both "O. G.," which worried her. She said in her "talk to the camera" moment that she wasn't afraid of the younger designers. She referred to them as "fresh meat," which cracked me up big time.


Guest judge: Wes Gordon, creative director of Carolina Herrera. Total cutie, strong chin. And having designed for Michelle Obama, he knows a thing or two.


Brittany and Anna: Disney princess. Is that a good thing?


Kara Saun and Laurence: oh what a horror. A wedding cake design, the black and white elements were not harmonious. If a royal personage were wearing that dress she'd be put in the tumbrel and sent to the guillotine.


Victor and Kayne: gorgeous, full of drama, but maybe too dragadelic. I like the nerve, though.


Hester and Fabio: I thought of Michael Kors, who used to say that a challenge is made or lost at Mood. The tablecloth fabric that Hester and Fabio chose was a very bad choice. My guest commentator Waldorf said, "The last time I saw that fabric, it was on page 86 of the 1974 Montgomery Ward Catalog, and it did not look good then either." He also said, "I am not sure what was worse, Hester's white makeup, going for the *Beetlejuice* look, or the fabric.... I am going with the fabric."


Hester said the other looks were "pageant-ready" and they were going against that. Well they did.


Rami and Bishme: beautiful. Tasteful but sexy.


Korto and Prajjé: so stunning, a perfect execution of the challenge and also a magnificent expression from both designers.


Nina started things by saying there were no bad looks. Was she asleep or in the loo when Kara Saun and Laurence's model was on the runway? The judges spoke with all of the designers:


They thought Rami and Bishme's gown was beautifully draped and tailored but a little safe. They thought Anna and Brittany should have chosen a fabric with more body. Elaine said Kara Saun and Laurence's dress was one of her favorites. Knock me over with a feather. Nina saw an homage to Karl Lagerfeld, not in a bad way.


Nina asked Kayne and Viktor to remove the corset and wow, what a change. It was so much lovelier and more fresh without the corset. Brandon said if it were a "stage performance" challenge they would have won big time, But it wasn't. 


Thank you, Wes Gordon, for hating the tablecloth fabric in Hester and Fabio's design. The other judges thought the overall design was special, and Nina loved that the skirt was so easily removed. The judges were gaga for Korto and Prajjé's design. Elaine said they made the ancestors proud.


The judges put Korto/Prajjé and Kara Saun/Laurence on the top. I am mystified why they would put Kara Saun/Laurence on the top. But whew, Korto was the winner. Hooray.


Kayne/Viktor and Anna/Brittany were on the bottom. The judges felt that Brittany/Anna's look was too safe and dull, but then Kayne/Viktor's look was too costumey. Nina called it Vegas. And wow, Viktor was sent home! What a shocker. I love that man, I was so sad to see him go. He said exceptionally lovely things to Nina, which broke her heart. I'm gonna miss him. Waldorf said, "I think the loser should have been Brittany. That dress was horrible, and had it not been for Christian, they would have sent that dress down the runway looking like they stole a few boxes of sneakers from Footlocker."


Off topic, I was curious that there was no footage of our beloved pooch Swatch at their Mood visits. A Google search confirmed my suspicion: he died last year at the ripe old age of 15. RIP sweetie!





















E P I S O D E   F O U R 

This week's challenge was devised by none other that Christian Siriano. The designers were tasked with making their runway look from a single (enormous) bolt of red polyester fabric. A one-day challenge. Ha, at first I wrote "one-hour challenge." I think they did that as a tie-breaker a few years ago, no?


Brittany told an intense story about having a stroke on an airplane and being paralyzed on the right side, and how her Peleton fitness rehab inspired her to become an activewear designer.. Wowie wow! I'm so jaded, I pictured her telling that story in the mirror a few times before the season started.


Oh YES Miss Korto! Her look was inspired by the woven seat belt dress she did in her first season, one of the greatest outfits ever seen on Project Runway (and ironically is was not the winner that week).


Christian was skeptical about Anna's ruffle situation and so was I. Kayne cracked me up by doing a bit where he called up Anna on the phone and told her that the ruffle thing was over and she had done it two challenges ago. So there!


My guest commentators Statler and Waldorf were on fire this week! Statler had comments about what the designers were wearing:


Statler: Korto. I love her. “I’m a queen. Queens don’t carry stuff”. Same girl, same. And that tee shirt. I had to look up the meaning of AHT AHT. Apparently means “no no” in Ebonics. I’m super curious if it’s in reference to a specific thing. Anna’s black outfit that she wore….what’s with the black homage to Laura Ingalls Wilder? And is it me or was Hester wearing a beach coverup to the runway show?


How cute! Christian gave the designers a little boost by taking them clothes shopping for themselves at a boutique down the street, on his dime, courtesy of (product placement) Wells Fargo. Rami's green jacket was the winner for me. Sign that over to me, thank you.


Statler: Shopping spree. Does anyone really think that Christian actually paid for all that? I wish we could’ve actually seeing more of that. I would love to see them helping each other try on clothes and determine their own styles.


I've never understood how they do what's announced as a one-day challenge, and yet they're doing more work the next day. Does that mean a 24-hour challenge? Could someone please explain this to me.


Before we get to the runway, Statler had a few interesting general comments:


Statler: Why do they time their sketching? I mean…..what does it matter if they sketch longer and have less time to sew?


Also….I am not a fan of Christian. I find his comments like “I’m gonna murder you” to be borderline offensive. Find another phrase dude.


Guest judge: Lena Waithe. Love her ribbed pink and orange argyle outfit, such a divine mix of classic American sportswear and just plain FLY. Another set of garments I want for myself. But orange isn't the best color for me, could I please see it in blue and green? Thank you.


Oh ouch, Miss Nina was "alarmed!" She said, "I guess you all turned into drapers and minimalists." Which she capped off with a full on Miranda "Devil Wears Prada" Priestly frosty frozen face.



I wasn't wild for Brittany's look at first, I thought it looked overworked. i like the topstitching though and the judges were into the Sporty Spice vibe. And the more I looked at it (and honestly, hearing the judges's more informed opinions) brought me on board.


Anna was shocked that she was in the top and so was I. Brendan called her out for repeating a technique. I thought it was too sci fi. Korto, in the green room, went OFF! She said it was insulting, that a designer would be allowed to repeat herself.


Waldorf: Anna and the god awful repeat look! How was that in the top??? I haven’t seen that much tasteless ribbon since my grandmother filled her Christmas candy bowl.


Kara Saun's look had so much attitude and it looked great with the fabric. Elaine loved that suited the "statuesque" quality of her model. Kara Saun was so cute, she was doing what Elaine called an "elevator pitch" to Lena.



I thought Rami's look was dull. Elaine said it didn't flatter her body. Lena thought that if the zipper was so prominently featured it should have been a more chunky zipper. I can see that.


Hester said she wanted to set herself apart and yes, she did. Not in a good way. It was so badly constructed. Lena thought it could have used some editing. Yes ma'am. But bless Elaine, she said it wasn't boring! She said the problem might have been with the fabric and not with Hester's talent. But isn't part of talent knowing the best design for the fabric you have to use...?


Waldorf: Not only was the overall look horrible, but what was up with the crotch? And why did Nina not mention it. That crotch could receive a grant for economic development.


I was shocked that Fabio was in the bottom, his look was one of my favorites. He shoud have been in the top instead of Anna! I thought it was gorgeous, chic and effortless.


Ouch, in the green room Korto sort of attacked Anna. That was hard to see.


I was pleased that Brittany was the winner. That look was fierce. And whew, Hester was sent home. Her outfit was clearly the loser of the day, as much as Elaine wanted to see it in a dark club with a disco ball. I want to quote whatt Hester said word for word, because it was so ridiculous. "I don't really know if being on the bottom one time for a fabric you're not really used to is grounds for elimination." Well YEAH. Does she not understand the concept of being JUDGED by the JUDGES and, cause and effect, going home?


Oh, more petty ugliness directed to Anna. Starting with Kayne. I like that Anna stood up for herself and that Kara Saun tearfully asked that people not bring negativity into the competition. Amen to that.


Waldorf: The attack by some of the others on Anna was unjustified. She did not choose to be in the top, and even she thought that she was going home. This challenge brought out the Nellie Olesen in a few of these people. And like Nellie covered in horse poop, it was not a good look for anyone.


One last thought from Waldorf: How did we get two Little House on the Prairie comments this week. So random…














E P I S O D E   F I V E

Of course the episode opened with a rehash of the Anna repeat drama from the previous challenge. It was nice of Korto to sort of apologize. Cleared the air. To a degree.


The new challenge was introduced by Christian and Jennie Garth. Here's what guest commentator Waldorf had to say: "Jennie Garth as a guest judge. Could there be a better rep of the 90s? I mean...she was even on NINE OH 210. Nice add. But could they not have brought on Shannon Dougherty, too? And Gabrielle Carteris? Oh wait. Gabrielle may BE 90 now. (ouch!)"


They needed to do a look inspired by the 90s. And it was a team challenge, they were split into two teams. One limitation: no denim.


The team meetings were interesting to watch, the trip to Mood was its usual thing. The teams are:


Red Team: Kara Saun, Anna, Fabio, Brittany, and Kayne. And Blue Team: Laurence, Bishme, Korto, Prajjé, and token honky Rami. My favorite bit from Christian's walk through:


PRAJJE: It's supposed to be like sweatpants.

CHRISTIAN: But are they the coolest sweatpants you've ever seen?


As long as we're talking about Christian, guest commentator Statler had this to say about the role of the mentor: "I wish Brendan Maxwell was the mentor for the designers. He could bring the right amount of bitchiness and mentoring." What do YOU think? We all agree that no one could surpass the immortal Tim Gunn.


Laurence got teary talking about her life in the 90s: she got pregnant at 16, which was a disaster in her family. But she also went to fashion school in the 90s. The models came in, they had fittings, and some troublesome group overviews. I was very curious about how this would all pan out.


Pizza party at Hotel Indigo! Polaroids, enormous cell phones, and a bit of trash talk. The yoozh.


The runway show was at MoMA PS 21, in the hallways with the lockers and all that bizniss. Did you notice the slightly blurry, Vaseline on the camera lens effect for Nina? I guess the high school hallway lighting situation was not flattering for her.



Bishme: love that look, totally fly.

Rami: very inventive, I like all the different pieces.

Prajjé: very cute, very happening.

Laurence: so full of attitude, unusual but not wacko.

Korto: not convinced, too voluminous, not flattering.


Statler said this about Korto: "Korto - what were you thinking? I could not find anything positive in that look. NOTHING! That skirt?!? I swear that material started as a table cloth on Mama’s Family."



Anna: the top had nothing to do with the pants, but the pants were cool. Crazy crotch with the pants, though.

Brittany: three words - - What The Hell. She said it wasn't horrendous, but I beg to differ!

Kayne: the corset was gorgeous but the thing hanging of the back was not happening. The skirt was clearly an afterthought.

Fabio: the most current look in the group, super cute, super fresh.

Kara Saun: the strongest look in the group, total wow, total impact.


Back at the studio for the judging. Waldorf had some choice words about space buns. The hairstyle.



























"What is with the space buns? Brittany has had them a couple times and Elaine had them this week and maybe for a 2nd time this season. I don't get it. I don't like it. Are they trying to recapture their HS years? Elaine, especially, just seems far to classy for that."


Nina said that the show was a lot of fun. The winning team was the Blue Team. She gave a special shout-out to Kara Saun for giving a great design - - she couldn't be in the top because she was on the (womp womp) losing team. Waldorf on Kara Saun: "Kara Saun's puffer vest. I. Want. It. And I never say that about items on PR."


Statler said this: "Red Team and all of the Plaid - I get it that they were trying to be cohesive, but it was like Parochial school girls gone rogue. I was waiting for Mary Katherine Gallagher to run out, do a split, and yell 'Superstar.' "


Waldorf: "Nina's face when seeing Brittany's and Kayne's designs.....both screamed 'That's something all right....' Don't play poker, Nina."


One last snark from Statler: "Brittany - Alicia Silverstone called, she thinks you need a bra."



Bishme's look was divine. Elaine described his look as "flawless." Bishme said that even though he was gay, his favorite part on a woman's body is her collarbone. Brendan cracked me up when he said, "I didn't know you were gay. Me too!"


Brendan said that Prajjé's look solidified the cohesion of the collection. Nina loved the jacket, Jennie loved the top under the jacket. Jennie said the white was "fresh."


Brendan was amazed that Laurence could do all of that in such a short amount of time. Nina said it could be on the runway, in an editorial, very today. There is no higher praise from Miss Garcia. Statler said this: "I loved Laurence’s design. She nailed the look and truly brought me back to the 90’s. I was ready to pop in an AOL disc and try to meet some guys in the M4M Room."



Brendan asked Kayne what he thought put him on the bottom. Kayne gave a smoke and mirrors answer, said that other team was better. But um, he's asking about you, not about the team. Thank you, Jennie, for calling out the thing hanging off the back. Kayne tried to distract the judges again by saying that he was a 315-pound kid in the 90s and not one of the cool kids - - Brendan said he was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, trying to make a good girl be bad. Recipe for disaster.


Elaine asked Brittany why the Blue Team was able to afford real leather and she was using pleather. She didn't really have an answer and the pleather was the biggest problem. Brendan said the bad construction "hurt his soul." Yikes!


Nina thought Fabio's look was safe. Jennie was crazy about the vest/backpack. He felt like it was his strongest look of the season but understood the critique. He's smart, that guy. He knows how to defend himself without being defensive.


Laurence was the winner. Amazing outfit. The auf went to Kayne, deservedly so. Hot mess. His exit was a little awkward and linger-y. But he made me smile by saying, "Going out with grace is the way to go, that's how Dolly would do it."


I'll close with my inevitable video clip!


























E P I S O D E   S I X

The episode started with the designers eating and talking about the previous challenge. I love that Prajjé used a spool of thread as a microphone when he asked Laurence how she felt about her win.


Oo, Miss Siriano! Workin' it! Looking rather fine in that see-through shirt and manny camisole. The challenge: make a high fashion look using couture-like undergarments. The models would be a mixture of male, female, and non-binary.


Prajjé was asked if he wears boxers or briefs - - he wears neither, he's commando. Maybe I'm taking this too far but do you wash your pants every day, with all your business rustling around in there? More over-disclosure: Anna shared that she once had a boob infection (#boobinfection) that made her nipple unusually long...? Did I get that right? I'd rewind it to fact check but I really am not up for hearing that story again. Anyway her personal illness informs her work. We should all aspire to that, no? No?


Guest commentator Statler said this: "Of course Anna is talking about her baby. And breastfeeding. And her long nipples. She’s that woman at parties that you have a buddy promise to stay nearby to save you when you loudly drop the code word."


Kara Saun was inspired by the Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre of 1921. I was curious to see how that would translate to underwear fashion. Korto talked about her family leaving Liberia and seeking exile in Canada.


Fabio showed a photo of his grandmother at her sewing machine, an inspiration to him. But that didn't prevent Christian from describing his look as "Doris Day on the Island!" Does that mean Long Island? Or a mythical Bali Ha'i kind of island? Please explain.


Anna described her look to Christian as "a bleeding nipple corset." Words I didn't expect to hear this week. Christian's response: "Really?"


On the subject of Christian, guest commentator Waldorf said this: "I thought I loved Rami before, now I LOVE him with all of my heart and testosterone - his impression of Christian was SPOT ON as he mocked him with 'don’t you miss me' and mentioned his two fingers to pat himself on the shoulder and the neck roll." Statler said this: " ‘Do you miss me?’ No Christian. We don’t. And you shouldn’t ask the question you don’t want the answer to."


I liked the vibe of curiosity and experimentation in the workroom. I was concerned about how it would translate into finished garments on the runway. On human beings. In front of the judges. On national television.


Did you notice that we had next to no coverage of Bishme or Brittany in the workroom? I predicted that this edit was pointing to them being in the middle. Ha, I was right!


Fabio had a heart-to-heart on the couch with Korto and Kara Saun. Kara Saun had a reaction that was somewhere between an eyeroll and a yawn. Made me smile.


A question: do you love the word "bralette" as much as I do? I'm not sure it's possible, but give it a try.


On to the runway. Nina was absent so we had two guest judges: designer Sergio Hudson and the divine Paulina Porizkova. Love her from way back. I love that she's aging with power and integrity.


Here's Waldorf on the subject of missing Nina: "Nina not being available made me sad knowing that we would not have: the acerbic critic, the side eye, the whispered comments, the head tilt, the smiling like she is about to steal 15 Dalmatian puppies, and every other attribute that make her the Queen (and I say that with love and admiration)."



Rami, for real? I didn't like it, I described it as "sloppy ho." The judges were impressed with the construction so clearly I have my head up my jockstrap.


Brendan pointed out that Prajjé had been in the top in four out of the six challenges. Pretty impressive! And this outfit was marvo. It had womenswear elements but it was super sexy on a man and didn't read as Lady. I felt like the model should have worn the jacket and then taken it off, and Sergio said the same thing.


The judges were impressed with Kara Saun. I love the story behind her outfit but felt it was underpowered. I was thrilled that she chose a pale color - - we see too much black on this show. Also in my office.



I haven't done any In the Middle commentary this season but Statler and Waldorf had hilarious observations about the peculiar headpiece on Anna's model. Waldorf said it looked like a swarm of bees. Statler said it looked like you could use it to strain cheese.



The judges felt that Fabio was wrong to put the panel of fabric in the front, covering the latticework and hanging over the undie waistband. I agree, it would have been much stronger if more had been revealed. I was not a fan of the schmatte, or the model discarding it on the runway, but I guess the judges weren't bothered by that.


I'm sure Laurence was surprised to be on the bottom. I thought it was sexy but Sergio described it as "not a shining moment." Elaine said it wasn't a suiting challenge, it was an underwear challenge.


I was also surprised to see Korto on the bottom. Yes, the bralette (that word again!) was unresolved but the skirt was gorgeous. Korto pointed out that she scrapped her original look and had five hours to make something new. I'm constantly quoting my mother on this: That's an explanation, it's not an excuse. I'm often reminded of Chloe Dao, winner of season 2. She always had a clear sense of what she was doing from the get go - - she chose a design that she could do in the amount of time they had and it was finished to perfection.


The winner was Kara Saun. My brow was knit. I didn't find it a wow. Ditto to Rami, who was 2nd. I was heartsick to see two of my favorite designers, Fabio and Korto, on the bottom. I would have put Anna in the bottom before either of them, her look was too spooky and not sufficiently underwear-y. The auf went to Fabio. He made a lovely exit speech on the runway. I'm going to miss him.


Christian wasn't available to do the green room auf so Brandon stepped in for him. Waldorf: "Brandon coming into the green room reiterates what I said last week, he NEEDS to take over as mentor and leave Christian to take his two fingers, pat himself on the shoulder, say good bye, and Sashay Away (oops, wrong reality show)."
































E P I S O D E   S E V E N

The episode started with Brandon talking with the designers in the green room immediately after Fabio's auf in the previous episode. He encouraged them, at the midpoint in the competition, to not lose their focus or their energy. He was so calm, articulate, and inspiring, I was reminded of Statler and Waldorf and how they keep saying that Brandon needs to break through the barrier and go from being a judge to being the mentor! Yes, please!


The designers were brought out of the city to Christian's atelier. The challenge: a head-to-toe look in denim. Waldorf had this hilarious observation: “I am glad they all had to go to Connecticut to p̶r̶o̶m̶o̶t̶e̶ ̶C̶h̶r̶i̶s̶t̶i̶a̶n̶’s̶ ̶s̶t̶o̶r̶e̶ get denim, as I am sure it hard to find in NYC.”


Statler said this: “I’m also super curious how much the handbags cost that are in his shop. And did the price go up after this episode is released? Maybe I’ll go look. No, I won’t.”


The catch: the judging will be done head to head. The designers were paired off and the judges would choose a winner and loser in each pair. Ouch! Kara Saun, as winner of the previous challenge, was given the choice of her opponent. I KNEW she was going to choose Anna!


The button bag (now done in denim, how quaint) was brought out to determine the other pairs - - the button bag chose the someone and that person had to choose their opponent. I'm on board with Kara Saun getting to choose her opponent, as winner of the previous challenge, but having the other designers do it gave me PTSD from middle school gym class. No thank you. Here are the other pairs:


Brittany chose Laurence

Rami chose Korto

Bishme and Prajjé were the two left


Their fabric was repurposed from fully made denim garments, which they'd have to deconstruct. I should mention that Christian recently did a collab with Gloria Vanderbilt, the biggest fashion denim brand of the 80s. Woo to the hoo for the late MIss V!


I was most curious about the Rami/Korto face-off. Kara Saun chose Anna because she saw her as an easy mark and whadya know, Anna had never worked with denim before! Her plan was to bleach the entire look, so it would be white. And oh my, she had never worked with bleach before! Yowza, keep an eye on that girl.


Ha! Laurence was asked how she felt about Brittany choosing her as her opponent. She said, "I'm gonna miss her." A bit later Brittany was feeling overheated in her enormous sweater so Korto loaned her a T-shirt. This was really one of the sweetest moments in the season. The T-shirt said:






Korto said, "My boo gave me that." Love that woman!


Brittany had a minor hair-pull with Christian in the workroom. Waldorf said this: “Brittany snapping at Christian was a total bitch move, and yet, not unwarranted. It brought a smile to my face. If it came down to a bitch fight, my money is on Brittany. There were a couple of times she had a look on her face of ‘I will cut you.’ “


They left the workroom and went to the Night Lounge, where they had booze, ice cream, and Pop Tarts. Anna realized that she was the winner of the Dee Yoo Emm award - - she did lots of things she hadn't done before and didn't listen to the sage counsel of Her Holiness Miss Korto. Her bleached outfit was going to be a disaster, she didn't build in time to wash the garment after the bleaching, so she'd have to pitch that sauce in the gar bazh and start from scratch the next day.


Waldorf said this: “Anna was shocked that bleach could take the blue out of the denim and make it white. You are from China, girl, not another planet. And, after Koto told you that the fabric would need to be washed, you used that as an excuse to the judges that you did not know. Nina would have seen right through that lie. I am not sure how Anna ended staying and not going home. With scissors and a stapler I could have done what she did and in only 4 hours.:


Statler, as usual, was driven around the bend by Anna: “Why does Anna bug me so Goddamn much? They were focusing on her quite a bit so I feel like she’s going home. Quote of the night… I can make a baby so I can make this dress. Ummmm… No. I don’t think that’s how this works. I can make a baby too, well, I could’ve 15 years ago. But I never could’ve made that dress. And what the hell is up with her always wearing long gloves during the interview bits?”


Statler keeps mentioning this and I want to echo her: it's so inspiring to see large models in the mix, and not ghetto-ized in their own Big Girl Challenge. A large woman should not be a challenge!


On to the runway. Where the heck is Miss Nina? Waldorf: “Another week without Nina? I am not sure what she is having nipped, tucked, or tightened, but she needs to get back and take her rightful seat.” The guest judges were Willy Chavarria in the Nina seat and actress/model Julia Fox in the guest seat. I think it’s strange that they have a hierarchy for the guest judge seats with Nina out but whatever.


Statler on Ms. Fox: “Wait. Is guest judge Julia Fox wearing head to toe quilted blue something or other? Including boots? To piggyback off my boy, Waldorf… My grandmother called and she wants her Buick seats back.”


Prajjé: kinda cool, I liked the construction and inventiveness. It seemed well made.

Bishme: I love me a halter and the "feathered" jacket was super luscious.


Korto: wow, lovely. The bleach tie dye element really made it.

Rami: I thought it was OK but not amazing. Chavarria looked perplexed.


Anna: see Waldorf’s comments above.

Kara Saun: totally rad, so juicy on the model. And another halter!


Laurence: the use of denim wasn't elevated or surprising.

Brittany: I'm surprised to say I think it's better than Laurence's look. It had more impact.



Bishme, Korto, Kara Saun, and Laurence.


The judges used the words "glamour" and "forward" for Bishme's look. Just as I expected they were nutty for the "feathered" jacket, they said he was the only designer to really use the denim in an inventive way.


Brandon said the bleach detail in Korto’s dress made him want to look at everything closer. In a good way. Korto said that tie dyeing is a big thing in Liberia and Elaine said she appreciates that Korto often incorporates tributes to her heritage in her work.


Brandon said the fit was the deciding element that put her on top. Elaine said it was more wearable for more women.


I was surprised that Laurence was on the top over Brittany. They were nutty for the fit of the skirt and the cut out back. Brandon wasn't wild for the spikes on the sleeves. And why didn't the judges mention the twice-in-a-row cone boob moment?



Brittany, Prajjé, Anna, and Rami


Chavarria pointed out that the hood was kinda droopy on Brittany’s jacket, which I hadn't noticed. The judges liked her look a lot and seemed regretful and she had to be on the bottom.


Thank you, Chavarria, for using the word "bralette"! Made me smile big time. He felt Rami’s look would have been better without an open back. Elaine criticized the styling and Brandon said the elements didn't come together.


Ouch, Brandon used the word "torturous" for Anna's dress. And no one liked the face chain.


Elaine didn't feel Prajjé’s look was cohesive. Chavarria thought the skirt length was a problem.


The winner was Laurence...? I didn't even like her look as much as her opponent’s! What do I know. I would have given the win to Korto, for sure, of the four designers the judges had chosen for the top.


The auf went to Rami. I definitely would have given it to Anna. Maybe just because she annoys me! Brandon said something so touching about having been inspired by Rami back in the day.


But oh wow, Christian used his Siriano Save for Rami! What a relief. Waldorf: “I was dismayed that Rami was slated to go home and Anna survived another week. Even though you annoy the hell out of me, Christian, thank you for saving him. Though, you are also the person who told him that he had a winning look.”


Statler said this about Christian: “My counterpart, Waldorf, has brilliantly compared Nina Garcia to Cruella Deville. I am trying to decide who Christian is most like. Willy Wonka because he thinks he’s a benevolent genius but in fact, he’s a crazy manipulative shrew. Or is he more like the tin man because he doesn’t have a heart..”































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